Employee assistance programs (EAPs) have the potential to be powerful ammunition on the frontlines of addiction and mental health issues in the workforce. As more companies begin to rely on EAPs to help alleviate barriers to timely, affordable behavioral healthcare services, it’s important that EAP professionals are up to speed on some key facts about substance abuse.
Drug and alcohol problems cannot easily be ignored by human resource managers. Seventy percent of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed, and federal surveys indicate that around 24% of workers admit to drinking at work at least once in the past year.
Professionals have the smarts – and the motivation – to hide a drug or alcohol addiction. After all, they have a lot to lose. They put their reputation, their professional standing, their public image and their relationships in jeopardy if they are seen talking to a drug dealer in a seedy neighborhood or disappear for days at a time. Thus, they maintain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, so convincingly that their spouse and children are often unaware that a problem exists. Professionals themselves may remain in denial longer than other addicts because they can point to their career as evidence that it “can’t be that bad.” Due to the chronic, progressive nature of addiction, professionals can maintain the façade for only so long. By the time they acknowledge the problem and get help, or are encouraged to seek treatment by a colleague or loved one, their disease is often advanced. Is your colleague or loved one creating any of the following illusions to disguise a drug or alcohol problem?
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